Don's Bike Across America
Astoria, Oregon to Portsmouth, New Hampshire
June 19 to August 7, 2006
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Don’s Blog: July 13: Halfway Home

 
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Don’s Blog: July 13: Halfway Home

Thursday’s ride came around very early, for a few reasons. First, the long, exhausting effort we put forth on Wednesday took until late afternoon, leaving precious little recovery time. As if that were not enough, we moved from the Mountain to Central Time Zone, losing yet another hour. The bag loading was scheduled for 6:15 a.m. so before I knew it I was back on the bike again, headed for the town of Chamberlain, South Dakota, some 85 miles from the capitol city of Pierre.

Each and every rider was thankful that the weather has eased overnight. The wicked winds had abated and the temperature had dropped into the low 80s.Thus, the miles clicked off at a much better rate, although I was still very tired from yesterday’s effort, in addition to the cumulative effect of all of the miles since Astoria. In addition, my knee was still sore from earlier in the week, and a new problem had cropped up: sore butt muscles. This had been something that had not bothered me too much up to this point in the trek, but sure is becoming a problem now. I found it difficult to sit on the bike seat for more than a few minutes at a time, before having to stand up and reposition my gluteus maximus on the bike seat again.

One positive note was that we passed the halfway mark of the entire trip at the first sag stop in today’s ride. We were as far away from Astoria, Oregon as we were from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, our final destination. Anyone who has participated in endurance athletics knows how much of a psychological boost can be accrued from passing the halfway mark, no matter what the distance. So even though we are still weeks away from completing the trek, it did provide a nice boost. We all had photos taken on the side of the road, where the halfway mark was noted in chalk.

Chamberlain is a nice town on the banks of the Missouri River. There were several signs indicating Lewis and Clark has camped here on their westward journey early in the 19th century. What a long distance they had to go, in order to reach the Pacific Coast! They were covering just a few miles daily, as opposed to our 70 on bicycles. In addition, the South Dakota hall of fame was next to our motel. NBC broadcaster Tom Brokaw is one honoree.

A few more fun facts from South Dakota:

  • There are 738,000 residents in the state. Not many, given its huge size.
  • The average rain fall is just 15 inches per year. We have not seen any of it in our short visit.
  • More than 90 percent of the land in the state is farmland.